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EXPLAINED: How certain train fares in France are set to rise

France's national rail service SNCF announced on Friday it would be increasing some fare prices for TGV high speed trains and some regional services.

EXPLAINED: How certain train fares in France are set to rise
An SNCF worker attends passengers next to a TGV (high speed train) at the railway station in Bordeaux in 2021 (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)

After several weeks of assessing how to manage additional costs due to the energy crisis, the French national rail service, SNCF, said it planned increase fares by an average of five percent for its TGV services and regional trains.

The rise in ticket prices will begin in 2023, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs, Christophe Fanichet told BFMTV on Friday.

“We are facing additional costs of 13 percent in 2023, so we will have to bear more than half of this,” Fanichet said, adding that the rail operator could have opted to reduce services but “did not want to do so.”

Not all tickets will become more expensive – the rise in pricing will primarily affect “maximum fares” – or tickets booked at the last minute. Additionally, “Business Premiere” tickets will automatically increase by an average of five percent.

Fanichet told BFMTV that “sometimes [the increase] will be less than [five percent], sometimes more” because the adjustments in price will be made through a process called ‘yield management’, which is a marketing technique that structures fares based on demand and timing.

READ MORE: How to find cheap train tickets in France

Certain frequent traveller offers will also be impacted – such as the “Liberté” card, and the “Max Actif” and “Max Actif +” offers.

All train riders in France will be impacted by the rail service’s change to its exchange and refund conditions. During the pandemic, passengers were allowed to exchange and refund tickets up to three days prior to departure. However, starting in February, this period will be extended to seven days prior to departure.

At the request of Transport Minister Clément Beaune, SNCF agreed to maintain a “price shield” by maintaining Ouigo – or low-cost service – tickets at the same fare structure (meaning these tickets will not increase in price in 2023).

Additionally, the minimum prices, or those charged at the start of ticket sales, will not be increased. These moves are intended to protect lower income customers from price shocks.

Some discount cards will also remain at their current pricing in 2023 – for instance, the Carte Avantage will stay at their current price of €49. 

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TRANSPORT

Eurostar faces severe disruption at Christmas as staff vote to strike

High-speed train operator Eurostar will face security staff walkouts that will "severely" disrupt busy Christmas services, their trade union said on Wednesday.

Eurostar faces severe disruption at Christmas as staff vote to strike

Eurostar, which links London with Paris and Brussels, is the latest firm hit by strikes as salaries fail to keep pace with rocketing inflation in a cost-of-living crisis.

The RMT rail union said in a statement that members working as Eurostar security voted overwhelmingly to strike on December 16th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd.

“The strike action will severely affect Eurostar services and travel plans for people over the December period,” it added.

More than 100 staff had voted “emphatically” to reject a pay offer that was below inflation.

The RMT added that the security workers are employed by facilities contractor Mitie.

“Security staff are essential to the running of Eurostar and it is disgraceful they are not being paid a decent wage,” said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.

“I urge Mitie and Eurostar to come to a negotiated settlement with RMT as soon as possible.”

Britain faces a grim winter of discontent this year as strikes multiply across public and private sectors as pay is eroded by surging consumer prices.

Ambulance workers on Wednesday joined nurses in voting to go on strike ahead of Christmas.

Numerous other staff, from lawyers to airport ground personnel, have also held strikes this year as Britain contends with its worst cost-of-living crisis in generations.

UK inflation accelerated in October to a 41-year peak at 11.1 percent on runaway energy and food bills.

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